We all have that coworker, sister-in-law or neighbor that found her fairy tale ending on an online date-to-love site like Match.com or eHarmony. We use social media for everything else, so it’s no surprise that nearly 20% of us have now tried online dating. Now that it’s an acceptable and “normal” option, how do we play the online dating game and win?
The truth is, most of the anxieties and pitfalls of dating are the same on and offline. And landing that first date with your online sweetheart might take a little more social media savvy than you think. Consider these tips to grabbing the attention of the right guys or gals online.
Selling Yourself is the Same On and Offline
Think of your online dating profile as a first impression that you actually get to plan out ahead of time. Advertise yourself. Brag gracefully. Why are you a catch? If you’ve got a biting sense of humor, show it off. And if you’re an accomplished chainsaw sculptor, post photos of your work.
If you’re having a hard time putting your romantic c.v. together, consider asking your friends what they love about spending time with you. (If you’re still at a loss, at least mark “modesty” as one of your chief virtues.)
Just don’t get carried away. Getting hyperbolic about your achievements may attract a few more interested parties, but it’s a bad idea to misrepresent yourself. Don’t use an 8 year old photo from your college trip to Cabo just because you look hot. First dates are uncomfortable enough. You don’t want to make it worse by having to explain that what you really meant by “outdoor survival expert” was that your Bear Grylls tribute video made it to the top of Reddit when Man vs. Wild was cancelled. That’s cool, but it’s not the same.
And while you’re being honest, remember to be clear on your “non-negotiables”. If faith is very important to you or you can only see yourself with someone who shares your obsession with film noirs and whiskey-based cocktails, say so.
Find Your Best-Fit Dating Site
A range of reliable dating platforms are offered online, but it’s worthwhile to do your research before signing up. You’ll find a complete list of the web’s best (and strangest) dating sites below. Each site has it’s own style. And in order to choose the one that’s right for you, you’ll need to ask yourself two questions first.
- Am I willing to pay for personality matching?
- Free platforms like OkCupid attract wider pools of users, but they don’t offer sophisticated compatibility services the way eHarmony or Match.com do.
- What kind of relationship am I looking for right now?
- Dating networks will ask you to list what types of romance you’re after on your profile. But, some sites are more serious than others. You’ll have better luck finding the love of your life on Match.com than on Casual Encounters. Obviously.
A Site For Literally Every Type
Dating sites come in all varieties and are evolved to serve just about every kind of user imaginable. Are you super busy? Like, working-single-father busy? Large sites that use advanced personality metrics and compatibility statistics are great for users that can’t afford to waste time on too many doomed dates.
Or maybe you’re a skeptic who still prefers tech-free kismet to scientific personality matching. Try OkCupid, the site that doesn’t get in your face with date suggestions. It’s like a Facebook full of people who are available.
But, if singles bore you, affair-maker AshleyMadison will connect you with people that need a no-strings night off from their marriages or committed relationships.
And, of course, there’s a site for the exceptionally good looking single that only wants to talk to other hotties. It’s called Darwin Dating.
Here are the most talked-about dating services online. Plug into one of these networks and you’ll instantly launch the number of your romantic prospects into the millions.
- eHarmony is one of the first and largest online dating services. Nearly half of all newlyweds that met online owe their matches to eHarmony.
- Match matches users using their results from the site’s highly popular personality quiz. The site allows you to take this quiz and review your matches for free before signing up. Match.com subsidiaries include OkCupid and Chemistry.com.
- HowAboutWe is a fun and popular new service that practically guarantees an immediate and actual date. Users rate one another not by their profiles, but by their date ideas.
- SeniorMatch is a free networking service focused on connecting singles over 50. The site also features senior forums, dating counselors and an impressive list of over 10,000 date ideas for the romantically rusty.
- AdultFriendFinder is a network for casual daters looking for something light, fun and non-committal. The site claims to have over 40 million registered users.
- ChristianMingle is the largest network for Christian singles online. The site features Christian chat rooms, instant messenger and a searchable in-browser bible. Joining is free.
And Finally, 4 Oddly Specific Dating Sites
Still Creeped Out by Online Dating?
If you’ve had a secret crush in the last 3 years, you already know – checking the romantic stats of a dreamy stranger has never been easier. A last name is just about all you need to start mining months or years worth of tweets, pins, check-ins, and status updates. Just think of online dating as the less weird alternative to the Facebook date-hunting you’re already doing.
You can share as much or as little about yourself as you like. And as with any online profile, it’s important to play it safe. It’s a bad idea to post Google Earth screenshots of places you live, work or play. Avoid sharing personal email addresses or cell numbers with people you don’t know. Wait to swap this info until the magic kismet you came for strikes. It’s better to make due with the site’s messaging services in the meantime.